Dead End in Norvelt

Dead End in Norvelt

Book - 2011
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In the historic town of Norvelt, Pennsylvania, twelve-year-old Jack Gantos spends the summer of 1962 grounded for various offenses until he is assigned to help an elderly neighbor with a most unusual chore involving the newly dead, molten wax, twisted promises, Girl Scout cookies, underage driving, lessons from history, typewriting, and countless bloody noses.
Publisher: New York : Farrar Straus Giroux, 2011
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780374379933
0374379939
Branch Call Number: y GANTOS 2011
Characteristics: 341 p. ; 22 cm

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Grounded for the summer, young Jack Gantos is volunteered to help Norvelt’s obituary writer, who is alarmingly busy lately as the elderly residents are dropping like flies. Meet a cast of kooky characters and explore an unconventional town history.

In the historic town of Norvelt, Pennsylvania, twelve-year-old Jack Gantos spends the summer of 1962 grounded for various offenses until he is assigned to help an elderly neighbor with a most unusual chore involving the newly dead, molten wax, twisted promises, Girl Scout cookies, underage drivin... Read More »

In the historic town of Norvelt, Pennsylvania, twelve-year-old Jack Gantos spends the summer of 1962 grounded for various offenses until he is assigned to help an elderly neighbor with a most unusual chore involving the newly dead, molten wax, twisted promises, Girl Scout cookies, underage drivin... Read More »


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Chapel_Hill_MarthaW Aug 04, 2015

Put this one in the category of "books I enjoyed significantly more than I expected to". It's slow to start and has a bunch of weird plot threads pulled together, which keeps it from being a full 4 stars for me, but it's full of memorable characters and I truly laughed out loud more than once while reading it. Gantos created a world -- 1960s small-town America -- that feels real and familiar and also unique at the same time, in the way that the best books about small towns feel. I wasn't madly in love with it because this isn't necessarily my preferred reading genre, but I think it's well-done all the same.

He had me at the opening scene, where Jack accidentally shoots the drive-in movie screen from miles away with a WWII Japanese rifle. Eccentric & quirky characters are usually *too* eccentric & quirky for me, but the ones in this book are just on the edge of being completely believable and they are certainly laugh-out-loud funny. You will laugh at Jack while feeling for him at the same time.

litriocht Jun 17, 2014

For a book about a failing town, dying people, and other morbid topics, Dead End in Norvelt is surprisingly hilarious. Miss Volker's introductory scene, involving Jack thinking that she is melting the skin off her hands, is one of the funniest passages I have read all year.

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BookNerdWannaBe
Dec 31, 2013

This would be a great book for a Tween Book Club.

JCLKinsleyR Oct 07, 2013

This book is filled with history, humor, and heartache. I felt for Jack through the entire story and desperately wanted to meet Miss Volker, his companion for the summer. The WWII and post WWII story-line sucked me in from the get go. Excited to read From Norvelt to Nowhere!

LibraryCard_123 Jul 12, 2013

Liked the book, it was funny, I laughed out loud!

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BookLvr07
Aug 01, 2012

This book is awesome! It is a historic story with added humor. It was very funny and l I would recommend it to anyone.

ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD Jul 21, 2012

It’s not an easy book, but it does make for a compelling story, in spite of the protagonist’s limited movements. I walked into this title looking for an explanation of what makes Jack Gantos tick. I never found my answer. Instead, I found a book I can read and enjoy and recommend ad nauseum. And as trades go, that one sounds like a good deal to me.

b
Bearskito
Jul 15, 2012

This was a really funny book. Jack Gantos (the story is a combination of real experiences and fiction) gets grounded for "life" (the summer) for several things. (including pulling the trigger on a rifle he didn't know was armed, and wasn't supposed to touch)
he gets involved in the local newspaper scribing obituaries, and his summer gets interesting from there. this is probably because its semi-nonfiction, but he dosent follow up some plotlines. (but life is like that, not all plotlines get followed)
Funny book.

nanajoe Feb 08, 2012

I enjoyed this Newbery winner though not as much as past winners. It was different, had interesting characters, great black humour but some events were odd - for example, the Hell's Angels coming to town and burning down houses. I don't know where it fit in the story.

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orange_falcon_66
Jul 21, 2016

orange_falcon_66 thinks this title is suitable for All Ages

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white_whale_95
Jul 19, 2015

white_whale_95 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 10 and 18

ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD Jul 21, 2012

ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

indigo_dolphin_204 Jun 23, 2012

indigo_dolphin_204 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 8 and 19

Quotes

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ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD Jul 21, 2012

“. . . if you think about it a refrigerator is just a coffin for food that stands upright.”

ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD Jul 21, 2012

“Something had to be wrong with me, but one really good advantage about being dirt-poor is that you can’t afford to go to the doctor and get bad news.”

Summary

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ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD Jul 21, 2012

1962, Norvelt, PA. It’s a town that owes its existence to Eleanor Roosevelt (for whom it is named) and the residence of one young Jack Gantos. A kid with a perpetually bleeding proboscis, Jack’s looking forward to having an awesome summer. That is, before his mother forces him to help out old Miss Volker write the town’s obituaries. Before he’s grounded for mowing down his mom’s corn (because his dad told him to, and how fair is that?). Before it seems as though the whole summer might pass him by. Fortunately, Jack finds his time with Miss Volker to be fascinating, and that’s before all the little old ladies in town start dying off at an remarkably quickfire rate. Is there something natural or unnatural behind these deaths? And more importantly, will Jack ever get to play an honest game of baseball under the shining sun ever again?

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